Designing a great user onboarding experience

March 21, 2021

User onboarding is a huge topic of conversation in the UX world at the moment. ☑️ An onboarding experience can make or break a user’s feeling towards an app — causing them to abandon it. (Nearly 1 in 4 people abandon mobile apps after only one use!) So.. let’s talk about what makes a great onboarding experience. And for this example, I am analyzing Notion👇🏼

If you know me, you know I LOVE Notion. Notion is a note taking/organization app with a handy mobile/tablet version. The app has a number of features and allows for a ton of customization, meaning that without helpful instructions, the app could be overwhelming to some users. Here is where their great onboarding comes in…📲

1. After signing into Notion, the user is presented with a “Getting Started on Mobile” screen. The screen is filled with helpful helpful tips, written out in checklist forms, complete with emojis and a link to an example sub page (presented as a page link in the context of a checklist). This screen is indistinguishable from the product — because, in essence, it is the product. As the user, you are free to edit this screen, delete content, tap buttons, or reach out for help and feedback — noted as red, highlighted text. 🤗

2. Another page of the Notion site is the Task List page. Reminiscent of the initial “getting started” page, the task list gives brief directions (which can be edited or deleted at any time), along with an example of a task one might want to add (taking their pup for a walk). 🐶

Conclusion: What could have been an overwhelming app, or an app with a distracting onboarding process, Notion uses their own product to onboard users and they explore the note taking/task building interface. Users are invited to play with the app as they learn how it works and reminded through cute emojis that the app is lighthearted and personal to them.👏🏼

Next time you download a new app or start using a new tool, pay attention to the user onboarding experience. Is it distracting to use or actually taking away from your experience using the app? OR — does it flow seamlessly into the your overall experience using the product (like Notion)?

If you’re interesting in reading more about user onboarding in UX design, check out the articles below:

Bulletproof User Onboarding: 3 Principles to Create Antifragile Onboarding Flows

What Can Bike Sharing Apps Teach Us About Mobile On-boarding Design?